4 Barbell Grip Variations and Their Benefits

There are many different ways of holding a barbell (bar) when doing lifts and many other weight training exercises. Each one has its strong points and weaknesses.

The way you hold the barbell in your workouts, determines how certain muscles will be worked, or whether they will be worked at all and some increase the difficulty and challenge of the exercise, hence increasing their effectiveness.

The following are four ways you can handle a barbell and their benefits to your workout sessions.

1. Overhand grip

Overhand grip or standard grip or prone grip, is the most popular way of holding a bar when doing strength training exercises. It involves holding the bar with your palms facing downward or towards your body, with your thumbs wound around the bar to overlay your fingertips.

This grip is great for almost any exercise that involves holding a bar or slim object. The wrist should not be moved back too much in this grip, only slightly.

2. Underhand grip

Underhand grip or supine grip is the second most common grip type with strength training exercises. It is basically the opposite of overhand grip, your palms are facing up or away from your body opposite to overhand grip, with your thumbs overlaid on your fingertips from the top.

This grip is great for barbell curls, bent over barbell rows and biceps curls, where your thumb not wound around the bar, increases its effectiveness.

3. Mixed grip

Mixed grip or alternate grip is when you hold the bar with one hand using the overhand grip, while underhand grip is used by your other hand to hold the same bar.

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This grip method helps you to lift more weight, but it can potentially be dangerous for your biceps, if the weight is too much or the technique is wrong.

Experienced dead lifters, shruggers, and power lifters can use this method with great effectiveness.

4. False grip

False grip or suicide grip is very similar to overhand grip, only that the thumbs are not wound around the bar.

Like its nickname implies, this grip method is potentially dangerous, especially if used in bench presses and if your hands are bent back a lot during the process.

Despite this, they are great for overhead presses, squats and some lift variations. Even gymnasts use this grip method often.

If you are feeling elbow pain, wind your little pinky finger around the bar and not your thumbs.

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